As a tyke I remember Santa Claus and the big to do at Christmas. Maybe it was more important back then...today the affluence and indifference of our modern angst has probably diminished both Christmas' and Santa's influence.
If marketers in fact invented Santa then they did one heckuva job. From the earliest times I could remember 'what is Santa bringing you this year' or 'did you write Santa a letter yet? 'Have you been a good little boy this year?' My relationship with Mr. Claus was certainly not atypical of my time and space; all the other kids bought into the same argument. I also understood that Santa's gig was unconditional and even if I had done a few naughty things he would most likely overlook them. Ho, Ho, Ho...which if we are to understand, means something totally different now.
As I got a little more world wise and got out and about, especially starting to play with other kids and go into their homes and see whole new families, I began to wonder. Some of the kids said Santa was a fairy tale and others said their parents didn't believe in Santa so they didn't either. Others said it was stupid to write a letter to Santa because parents buy the gifts anyway.
Not believe in Santa? Not write the obligatory wish list? My God! As a four year old it was hard to imagine how anyone could not like the guy...what was there not to like? But there were always those smart aleck kids that would say things like 'we don't have a chimney here in Florida, is Santa going to leave us out?'
Of course not I would reply defending his scruples, Santa didn't leave anybody out. Santa was an equal opportunity distributor. But there was something fishy as the evidence slowly came in that it was in fact ma and pa who went to the store and bought the gifts; not Santa making them up at the North Pole with a bunch of elves and delivering them in an anti-gravity delivery sleigh.
Then, like millions of other baby boomer kiddies, I came to the stark and unbelievably cruel conclusion that Santa did not exist. Upset and shattered, I cried to ma that it looks like my man Santa was a cruel hoax hoisted on me by those that thought it funny to tell little boys lies. Oh, cruel world!
Thank goodness for ma. Had it not been for her I would have lost all faith in humanity for ever right then and there and become a hardened cynic. Creating something like Santa and then taking him back, especially from four year olds, just did not seem like the American thing to do. It wasn't fair play.
It was clear to me back then that little babies came into the world not knowing anything and pretty much everything they know is taught to them by their loving families. Why would these loving families tell them such a lie?
Ma finally confirmed the news that Santa did not come down the heater vent. In fact, Santa did not bring any of my presents. People invented Santa because they needed him and needed to believe in something like Santa. It was a nice story in the old days and we keep telling it today; sort of make believe to make us feel good.
Whew. Thank goodness for ma setting Santa straight for me. I was beginning to wonder if I was wrapped right which is a bit much for a four year old that has just started to get out into the world.
Things changed with my son. By the time he came along everything was hip and cool and Santa was becoming even more popular. But my son never came and asked was Santa real. He knew the answer already.
Sure the concept of Santa has changed over the years. The sheer amount of commercialism has made even Santa a bit trying at times. Santa as a concept sort of faded into the background as I raised a family and traveled the world.
A Santa concept. Hmmm...
The latest brain research lends great credence that concepts created by the mind can in fact become the mind's reality. Hmm... Does that mean that if the concept is accepted by the mind it in fact becomes reality? Depending on which cognitive behavioral expert you ask, the answer is a 'probably so'.
So at this point, Virginia, we can say that Santa probably exists, at least in some people's psyches. That is a big step up from sheer myth and fantasy. If people way back created Santa because they needed him maybe we can do the same. And maybe we need to.
So here Virginia I have evolved full circle from total belief, shocked disbelief, reality assessment, and on to conceptual integration and assimilation. Or something like that.
Maybe it's the crazy idea of some gone cat unconditionally handing out toys to every kid in the whole wide world. Maybe it's the hope that someone like Santa could do such deeds and not have a hidden agenda or secret business plan.
Yes Virginia, Santa exists in the frontal lobes and cerebrum of every child that lets him go there. So don't forget to write your letter to Santa and hang your stocking near the heater vent. And don't feel badly when your insensitive intellectual friends make fun of you for believing in fairy tales.
Just tell them fairy tales are culture and culture is us. Rest assured that our dear friend Santa Claus will always exist as long as we need him to.
Ho, Ho, Ho!
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Jack D. Deal still believes in Santa and is the owner of Deal Business Consulting. Related articlesmay be found at www.jddeal.com and www.freeandinquiringmind.typepad.com
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